In April STNN invited a small group to meet with the Whitebait Connection at Paturoa Stream. This was a great opportunity to get an understanding of what they do and how the stream has been improving over time.
Whitebait Connection have a great affinity with STNN as they monitor mostly suburban streams and their health. STNN and the work that the volunteers do directly impact the health and well-being of our local streams with removing weed pests and restoring native plants. Supporting the local native creatures through trapping and providing environments that support them. Education and constant learning what can be done better in our environment.
As part of the monitoring that they do the Whitebait Connection check the water for levels of pollution and other notes of water degradation. The Paturoa Stream has been doing very well and improved alot. Even with the major weather events previously.
Learning about the lifecycle of the 5 species of fish that make up the whitebait family and what it can mean to have these creatures in the stream. How to protect them from the likes of hedgehogs, possums and rats who make a point of turning up at spawning. And how to improve their chances of survival with planting of vegetation that supports them through spawning.
All of this has increased the population of whitebait in the stream, and in turn a valuable food source for the tūna (eel), heron and kingfisher amongst other native animals.
Part of the wrap around care of the stream that STNN undertake include annual weeding and planting. A concentrated predator pulse trapping and baiting undertaken by Tony Dunn and volunteers. And now the water testing and Whitebait Connection monitoring. Another STNN volunteer popped their hand up for doing the water testing on behalf of the Whitebait Connection - thank you!
After checking the water quality a white bin was produced and a couple of scoops of water and what looked like dirt, sticks and leaves was dropped in. Within a couple of minutes this unassuming dirt came to life! We were watching sticks walking with caddisflies, wee shrimp darting and any number of tiny snails. The water literally came to life. It was really a picture of a happy and thriving community.
This is a good news story all around, where we can very easily see the impact of STNN volunteer efforts to restore biodiversity through pest removal and regeneration of native species.
With the Whitebait Connection direction STNN now know which plants are needed and where to encourage the whitebait species to continue their spawning success.
Take a read of our blog about why whitebait (īnanga) are important and why they are a wonderful demonstration of the great work STNN and volunteers are doing in South Titirangi.